Album review
Weakheart Fadeaway
Ranking Joe
May 25, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Dub Sister Dub It
  2. Rock Pon The Rock
  3. A Dread Earthquake
  4. Natty Dread A Trademan
  5. Nine Months Belly
  6. Weakheart Fadeaway
  7. Natty The Collie Smoker
  8. Queen Tell
  9. Honest Living
  10. Milkman Coming
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

Joseph Jackson aka Joe Jackson was born in Kingston on 1st July 1959. He got his start on record with the founding father of Jamaican music, the legendary producer Sir Coxsone Dodd of Studio One, cutting "Gun Court" over the riddim of Larry Marshall's "Mean Girl" in 1975 as Little Joe. He then recorded for a variety of producers including Bunny Lee, Watty Burnett and former African Brother Derrick Howard. By 1976 he was deejaying on the legendary sound system of Daddy U-Roy, Stur-Gav Hi-Fi, and recording for producer Prince Tony Robinson. His first album for that producer - "The Best Of Ranking Joe" - was released in 1977 and included hits like "John Saw Them Coming" and "Queen Majesty Chapter 3". He continued to deejay with U-Roy's set, building up a formidable reputation as a live deejay. Then he began recording hits for Sonia Pottinger ("Shine Eye Gal" 1978) and was the first deejay to record for Sly & Robbie's "Taxi" label when he versioned Gregory Isaacs' hit "Soon Forward" ("Stop Your Coming & Come") in 1978. In that same year Greensleeves released the "Weakheart Fadeaway" album. Ranking Joe also recorded for Joe Gibbs ("Leave Fi Mi Girl Arleen"), and Dennis Brown (the excellent "Around The World" album) and moved to another sound system, the newly-reconstructed Ray Symbolic Hi-Fi with Jah Screw as selector. The combination proved unbeatable in the dance and the sound was Champion of 1980. Then Henry 'Junjo' Lawes released another Ranking Joe album called "Saturday Night Jamdown Style", while UK's Trojan records released "Dub It In A Dance". Following Ray Symbolic's death in a car crash in 1981, both Joe and selector Jah Screw began production careers. The pair produced the last dub album to be mixed by King Tubby at his old studio, "Dangerous Dub", and they also produced many albums for Tad Dawkins' "Tad's" label. Since then, Ranking Joe has maintained his profile from his base in Bronx, New York, producing records for his own label with scores of top reggae artists such as Frankie Paul, Dennis Brown, Glen Washington, Glen Brown, The Meditations and Papa San. Ranking Joe introduced the so-called 'fast style' to rapturous dancehall audiences. His fast chat on the mic has been copied by younger artists many times, people like Heavy D, Papa San, Beenie Man and the late Pan Head being the most free to big up Ranking Joe as their teacher.
Now, twenty-six years after its initial vinyl release on Greensleeves, the London based record label has made the "Weakheart Fadeaway" album available on cd for the first time. The cd, actually a Joseph Hoo-Kim produced collection of singles that were released by Channel One, contains ten timeless tunes with backing tracks laid by great musicians such as Sly & Robbie, Bertram "Ranchie" McClean, Ansel Collins, Radcliffe "Duggie" Bryan, "Sticky" Thompson and Bernard "Touter" Harvey. Ranking Joe, strongly influenced by U Roy and Big Youth, delivers great deejay stuff over Studio One's "Rockfort Rock" ("Rock Pon The Rock"), Cornell Campbell's "Queen & Minstrel" ("Queen Tell"), The Sensations' "Everyday Is Like A Holiday" ("Natty Dread A Trademan"), Junior Byles' "Fade Away" ("Weakheart Fadeaway") and other refurnished classic riddims. A worthwhile re-release of an artist still under-represented in the reissue field.

Teacher & Mr. T.